Svetozar Gligoric (1923-2012)
Giant of Yugoslav chess Gligoric passes away
IM Malcolm Pein - Monday 20th August 2012
Svetozar Gligoric, a giant of Yugoslav chess and one of the world's leading players for more than twenty years has died in Belgrade at the age of 89. The regard in which he was held in his native land cannot be overstated. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic led the national tributes: "Serbia and our citizens will forever remember the Grandmaster, the King on the chess-board of Serbia, the remarkable man who left a historic mark in his country and in the whole world."
Gligoric was the world's second oldest Grandmaster and has been buried in the Alley of the Greats at Belgrade's New Cemetery. He was Yugoslav champion a record 12 times and headed the national team for nearly 30 years, winning both team gold and individual gold medal for the best performance on the top board. Gligoric won countless tournaments and no player has matched his five first place finishes at Hastings.
Gligoric defeated five world champions but never threatened Soviet hegemony despite scoring individual victories over Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Tigran Petrosian and Mikhail Tal. It was Tal who ended Gligoric's world title ambitions in 1959 when he defeated him in the Candidates quarter finals.
Gligoric's career was interrupted by the war during which he became a partisan and reached the rank of captain. Latterly, he studied music and has recently released a CD of some of his songs. He wrote a widely acclaimed book on the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972; Fischer vs. Spassky: The Chess Match of the Centurywhich I remember devouring as a child. His other main workI Play Against Pieces was also a masterpiece and if you can find a copy second hand, I strongly recommend it.
With black, Gligoric was the world's leading exponent of the King's Indian. Broadly speaking I would bracket his games with white alongside those of Viktor Korchnoi and Lajos Portisch as he favoured 1.d4 and was expert in exploiting positional advantages such as the bishop pair or extra space. Here is a nice example.
This tabiya of chess opening theory is difficult to handle. and has featured in many WCC finals: 11.Qe2 Gelfand-Anand WCC 2012, 12.Rc1 Kramnik-Kasparov WCC 2000; 16.Bh4 Anand - Topalov WCC 2008. White has two bishops and space Black must play accurately
S Gligoric - L Portisch
Lugano Olympiad 1968
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 d5 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 cxd4 9.exd4 b6 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Re1 Nbd7 12.Bd3 Rc8 13.Rc1 Re8 14.Qe2 Bxc3 15.bxc3 Qc7 16.c4 Qc6 17.h3 Rcd8
(17...Qd6 18.Rcd1 h6 19.Bc1!? going to b2)
19.Qe5! N6d7 20.Qg3 Ra8 21.h4!
21...Kh8 22.Bc1 f6
Black has no pawn break and Nf3-g5 was a threat
23.h5 h6 24.d5 Qa4 25.Nd4 Nc5 26.dxe6 Ncxe6 27.Bc2 Qxa2
Answer: 28.Rxe6! Rxe6
(28...Nxe6 29.Nxe6 Rxe6 30.Qg6)
29.Nxe6 Nxe6 30.Qd3 Nf8 31.Ba3! f5 32.Qc3 1-0
Ra1 trapping the queen, Re7 and Bb2 are all threatened